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Sound card newb: What to get?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I've never really found sound cards all that necessary but after hearing several people tell me how much better the sound is even with a cheap one, I have decided to pick one up. However, I don't know much about them other than the fact that I see several people with the Asus Xonar series sound cards.

Anyone up for making suggestions? Something $150 or less preferably.
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post #2 of 14
What speaker setup do you use? Headphones, surround phones/speakers? Optical hookups? Do you need it for gaming, watching movies, recording? What headphone/speaker brand/model are you using currently? A soundcard is one link in the chain, and often it's a lesser link since many amp/speaker setups are quite sub-par. I'm still a fan of an old Lafayette 5 watt stereo receiver I fixed up a few years ago, and some Klipsch speakers, but currently am not using them for lack of space.

I will say that I am not a fan of Creative, primarily due to severe driver issues, and their inability/refusal to fix the issues.
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post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hm. Didn't realize there was so much to it. Right now I just use a crappy set of 2.1 speakers, I plan on upgrading very soon but to what, I don't know. I don't own a pair of headphones but I was thinking of picking some up. I wouldn't be using it for recording, that is for sure. I will probably be using it mostly for gaming, music and the occasional movie. I really just wanted something that was all around good.

You see, I'm relatively new at building computers and have slowly been learning about different components as I buy them and have most things down pretty well but sound components are something I have NEVER bothered with.
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post #4 of 14
I don't really think you need to spend any where near that much on a sound card. if you don't have something remotely good to hear it through. You can get a good set of headphones and a decent soundcard for $150 and be perfectly fine. I have the Asus Xonar DG ($30) and a set of ATH-M40fs ($50) headphones and it sounds so nice compared to onboard audio and I don't really need anything more.
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post #5 of 14
it depends on your usage. Also, unless you use High Quality Headphones are speakers you wont notice much improvement over onboard sound.

If you do a search for your needs you might be surprised.
    
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post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Addictedtokaos View Post
it depends on your usage. Also, unless you use High Quality Headphones are speakers you wont notice much improvement over onboard sound.

If you do a search for your needs you might be surprised.
I guess I should have decided my needs before making this post. I'm on this kick where I am buying components that far exceed my needs you know, just in case. Like my PSU, extremely overpowered for my rig but meh, maybe I will need it one day.
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post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caustin View Post
I guess I should have decided my needs before making this post. I'm on this kick where I am buying components that far exceed my needs you know, just in case. Like my PSU, extremely overpowered for my rig but meh, maybe I will need it one day.
definitely. Asus Xonar DG was my choice cuz I was on a low budget and it's perfect for what I need. With your budget I would look to get both a set of head phones and a sound card.
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post #8 of 14
I have a question regarding this same topic. I too am in the midst of buying a new sound card. But I'm curious how USB sound cards fair against internal? I hate taking up PCI slots. But I'll do it regardless. I'm in the same budget as the original poster, around 150 give or take. I wan't something that will make my 2.1 setup sound spectacular. I'm not too worried about headphones, because I barely use them. But if the sound card supports up to 7.1 then sure why not. But my main question is the most important, internal sound cards vs usb sound cards.
    
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post #9 of 14
As others have said - you really need good speakers/cans to utilise a good sound card properly, in addition to good source material (320kbps+, anything above this and you'd need hi-fi stuff to notice difference...this will probably cause a crapstorm but it's true).

If I plugged my 595s into my mobo sound, and then plugged it into my soundcard, ANYONE could hear the difference.
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post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by VW_TDI_02 View Post
With your budget I would look to get both a set of head phones and a sound card.
I'll definitely second this .
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